The Escapists 2 Review: Good to be Bad
The Escapists 2 is an intriguing sandbox game that allows you to live out the fantasy of escaping from prison. Even if you've never had that fantasy, you will after playing this game. Coming up with inventive ways to escape is a huge part of what makes this game fun -- and frustrating at the same time.
While The Escapists 2 offers a unique sandbox prison escape experience, it may be a little overwhelming for some players. Though it has its flaws and may not appeal to everyone, it's an interesting experience overall that will be a fun ride for sandbox fans.
What I Loved
The amount of freedom you have in this game allows you to do just about anything you want in order to escape your prison. Want to dig your way out? Go ahead! Want to cut through the fence at night? You got it! Want to disguise yourself as a guard? That's also possible.
Setting Up Your Escape
Planning your prison break is the best part. There are so many things you can do and craft to help you on your way out. If you want to dig your way to freedom, for example, you're going to need to acquire a shovel.
That's not all though. In addition to figuring out an escape plan, you will also need to hide your escape attempt. If you don't, the prison will go on alert. The guards will also fix any damage they find, which renders your work useless unless you're careful.
Covering a hole with a table, placing a poster over a broken wall, or replacing a vent cover with a fake one are just some of the inventive things you can do to hide your progress until you are ready to escape.
Trial and Error
Since there are so many ways to escape, you might do a little trial and error to find out what works and what doesn't. Even though this can be frustrating, it is ultimately very satisfying when you figure out something that works.
For example, I chose to escape by cutting through the fence. I had to find a good escape route out of my cell, then a way to disguise myself so I wouldn't alert attention. I couldn't do this all in one night, so I had to get posters to cover up the walls I broke through.
There are so many ways to escape if you take the time to plan properly and hide your tracks -- which is probably my favorite thing about the game.
The biggest addition to The Escapists 2 is multiplayer. There are 2 different types -- versus and co-op.
Co-op is like the solo game, but you can work with other real players to plan your escape. There are places that actually require at least 2 players (completely optional of course).
Not only is co-op a fun experience to try out, but it can also be very useful in terms of splitting the work of escaping for a better chance at success. You could have one person raise intelligence, for example, to craft the needed tools, while another raises strength and/or fitness to use those tools more efficiently.
This presents even more ways to think about your escape, and allows you to do so much faster than normal.
On the other hand, Versus mode has different rules from the main game. It only lasts a day, and you compete against other players to see who can escape the fastest.
You also have almost complete freedom in how you make a break for it, because you can cut, dig, or chip away outside without getting caught. Vendors give items away for free, and there are no quests, routines, or snipers.
This is a great mode if you want to take a more casual approach, or even scope out prisons for the main game.
What I Didn't Like
The freedom of The Escapists 2 is a blessing and a curse. I love that you can do whatever you want, but I can also imagine many players getting overwhelmed by the sheer amount of items they can craft, quests they can undertake, and options they can consider for escape.
Speaking of quests, another gripe I had with the game was that some quests required a lot more effort than I thought necessary. And when I say that, I'm not referring to the fact that some quests are simple delivery quests, while others require lots of resource collection and crafting. That's totally fine and is to be expected.
I'm talking about a handful of quests that seemed intentionally convoluted just to fudge a certain level of difficulty. For example, you might be tasked with getting an item from inside a desk that's behind a locked door. While you can get into that room at some point, of course, the game won't give you much incentive to do so -- especially with so many other options for escape. It's often easier just to pick a different quest and not even bother with the more effort-intensive ones.
Overall, I can't complain about much in The Escapists 2. It may not be for everyone, but it is a great change of pace. Anyone who played the first one, or who is interested in a unique sandbox game, will definitely want to check this one out.
[Note: A copy of The Escapists 2 was provided by the developer for the purpose of this review.]